The one thing we must never forget

godlove

“I love you.” What a phrase; powerful, moving, comforting. The meaning is found in the context. Spoken by a parent to a child it means something entirely different than when it is whispered into the ear of a spouse! Next week, we celebrate the holiday of ‘love,’ St. Valentine’s Day. It was one of my favorite holidays, a time to attempt to delight Bev with flowers, a dinner date, or a sparkly piece of jewelry. We will do most anything to be loved, won’t we?

Did you know that God is crazy about you?
Forgive the phrase, but it is true! God loves you and me – let me say it again –
God loves you and me!

One of the most famous verses in the Bible is found in John’s Gospel. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16, NKJV) You have read it before, of course, but read it again. Now, read it but instead of ‘the world’ put your name in that place. Why is this so important? Because it is the love of God that heals us, keeps us, gives our lives the richness that we cannot find in any other place.

Spend much time with a group of children and it will not take long to sort out those who are loved well and deeply. They will be more open, more trusting, tending to share, more secure, happier. Oh yes, there is that indulged child whose parent confuses permissiveness with love; who does not love him enough to provide strong, secure boundaries. That child is not well-loved. There is the one whose parent is engaged, who enjoys meaningful interaction, who has no doubt about the commitment of her parent to her well-being- all the time, everywhere, no matter what! That wise parent does not attempt to be a buddy, not confusing the role of father with playmate.

Our heavenly Father loves us, not as playmate, but as Provider, Protector, and Guide. A child who is secure in love can accept even discipline because, consciously or unconsciously, she knows that the correction flows out of her best interest, not the parent’s anger.

Are you questioning God’s love? It not uncommon. I have done it, so will you.

The issue at the root of the Genesis story describing humanity’s Fall in sin is about God’s love and our trust. “Is God really good?” was the serpent’s implied intent. He sowed doubt with this idea – “Your Creator does not want you to know what He knows. He is holding back on you.” When we start to give that thought space in our mind, temptation finds a place to grow.

God speaks to us – demonstrably – about His love in Jesus. Yes, we also see His love in the providence of the world, in the beauty of what He’s made, but without a doubt, we see it in Jesus- God come to us, to be one of us, to die for us, to restore us to Himself. There is more to know! Just as the first ‘love’ of a young heart matures into a life-long commitment, the love that calls us to salvation matures into discipleship. You see, we NEVER outgrow our need to be loved.

That is why Paul offers this prayer, one that I read often, both for those in my pastoral care and for myself. As you read this word from the Word, invite the Holy Spirit to make it new, to set the love of God in your mind and heart, making you secure. He says, I pray that “Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19, NIV) That we are loved by God – it is the one thing we must never forget!

Our true Christian life is not shaped by fear. It is formed in love. Receive Him, Believe Him!

_____________

How He Loves

(worship at this link)

He is jealous for me loves like a hurricane
I am a tree bending beneath
The weight of His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden I am unaware of
These afflictions eclipsed by glory
I realize just how beautiful You are
And how great Your affections are for me

 Oh how He loves us so
Oh how He loves us
How He loves us so

 He loves us
Oh how He loves us
Oh how He loves us
Oh how He loves

 We are His portion and He is our prize
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
If grace is an ocean we’re all sinking
So Heaven meets earth
Like a sloppy wet kiss
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets
When I think about the way that

He loves us
Oh how He loves us
Oh how He loves us
Oh how He loves

John Mark McMillan© 2005 Integrity’s Hosanna! Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing (Integrity Music [DC Cook]))

CCLI License # 810055

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